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Book Review of Second Edition of The Outlaw Youngers, A Confederate Brotherhood

Outlaw Youngers book cover

Book Review: Brant, Marley. The Outlaw Youngers: A Confederate Brotherhood (Second Edition) Two Dot , Guilford, Connecticut 2021. 261 pp., about 20 pp. b/w illustrations notes, bibliography, index, softcover, $19.95

By Nancy B. Samuelson

One would assume that when an author does a second edition of a book twenty-nine years after the original that there will be new information in the new edition. Alas, this is not the case with this book.

What’s New & What’s the Same

Marley Brant, author of Outlaw Youngers
Author Marley Brant

A new introduction is added that talks about how the author became interested in the Younger outlaws, and a page and a half addendum is added touting a new book about Jim Younger by the author.

The body of the book is nearly word for word a copy of the first edition.

The index has been greatly reduced in the new edition making it harder to look up things in the new book.

Little Mention of Recent Research

First edition cover of the Outlaw Youngers book
First Edition of The Outlaw Youngers, A Confederate Brotherhood

The book was a good one twenty-nine years ago, but a lot of new books and articles have been written about the James-Younger gang since then. The author has not seen fit to mention any of the newer material. She does make one exception. In the introduction, she does mention that John Jarrette and his wife did not die in a house fire and that he died in Canada many years later. Nothing else is updated in the book.

Some Errors in Fact

There are a number of errors in the book. There is a strange tale about Charlie Pitts. The author claims he was born near Commerce, Oklahoma, in 1844. She gives no source for this story. Oklahoma did not exist in 1844 and Commerce, Oklahoma post office was not established until 1914. Charlie Pitts was really Sam Wells, from Missouri. 

Back cover of Outlaw Youngers book
Rear Book Jacket of The Outlaw Youngers, a Confederate Brotherhood

In the list of prestigious personalities who supposedly supported the Youngers’ fight for parole/pardon, there is incorrect information. Champ Clark is said to be a Congressman from Minnesota. He was a Congressman from Missouri for many years and was a candidate for President in 1912. Hon. John J. Crittenden is also on this list. He was both a Governor of and a Senator from Kentucky and served twice as the U. S. Attorney General. He died in July 1863 so he could not have supported the Youngers’ request for freedom. He had both a son and a grandson by the same name but they were both dead by this time as well.

A Solid Book for a James Gang Library Despite Its Lack of New Information

This was a good book twenty-nine years ago and is worth reading if you have not done so. However, do not buy this book looking for the latest research and new material about the Youngers. There is nothing new here.

Book Review: In the Shadow by Marley Brant

Fraudulent Images of Jesse, Frank, Anna, and the Younger Brothers

Retta Younger and A.B. Rawlins – Destiny by Marriage

The Younger Gang in Prison After Northfield

John Jarette Finally Gets a Grave Marker

Frank Younger – Dead at 80 in a Home Accident

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Tuesday October 19th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

☞Today in Old-West History — On today’s date 119 years ago, Sunday, October 19, 1902, notorious Old-West outlaw & fiddle player James Hardin “Uncle Jim” Younger (1848-1902) met his earthly demise at the age of 54 when he committed suicide by gunshot whilst on parole at Saint Paul, Minnesota.

☞Requiéscant In Pace, Jim Younger.

☞Jim Younger was one of the central figures of a band of the most desperate outlaws the Old West ever knew — the infamous James-Younger Gang, which was formed by Jim’s brother Cole Younger along with Frank & Jesse James.

☞Jim Younger joined the Confederate Army during the War Between the States (1861-1865) & served with Quantrill’s Raiders. In 1864, he was captured by Union troops & was imprisoned until the end of the War.

☞After the War, Younger worked on various ranches until he joined the James-Younger Gang in 1873. When his brother John was killed at Roscoe, Missouri in 1874, Jim left the gang & went out west where he worked on a ranch in San Luis Obispo, California.

☞In 1876, Jim returned to the gang, & on September 7 he participated in a bank robbery that became known as the Great Northfield Minnesota Raid. During that robbery he was shot & captured. The James brothers escaped, but Cole, Jim, & Bob Younger were shot up by a posse, arrested, & sentenced to long terms in the state penitentiary at Stillwater, Minnesota, where they were afforded celebrity status.

☞Jim Younger’s fiddle was one of the few possessions that he was allowed to have with him in prison, & he played it often. As time passed, Jim noticed that a little bird would appear most every day in the window of his jail cell. It seemed as though the bird came to listen whenever Jim played his fiddle. Jim was lonely & he befriended the bird which he named “Swipsy.” The bird would fly into the prison cell & Jim would always try to have crumbs to feed Swipsy. One day, a fellow prisoner killed the little bird just for spite. Jim then painted a picture of Swipsy on the back of his violin to remember his little feathered friend.

☞In 1898, the prison warden allowed the prisoners to throw a Christmas party at his own home, with Cole Younger portraying Santa Claus & Jim Younger playing his fiddle.

☞Paroled in 1901, Jim became engaged to his long-time lover Alix Mueller; however, because of the terms of his parole he couldn’t marry her.

☞On October 19, 1902, after a failed attempt to sell tombstones & then insurance, Jim Younger locked himself in his room, wrote a suicide note to Alix, picked up his revolver, & blew his brains out.

☞In 2013, Jim Younger’s fiddle, which was played by him at the famous 1898 Christmas party at Stillwater Prison, was sold at a Dallas, Texas auction for over $11,000.

☞The left-hand photograph depicts the image of Swipsy the Bird that Jim Younger painted on the back of his fiddle. The right-hand photograph depicts an undated studio portrait of Jim Younger.
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Tuesday October 5th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

For Drury Woodson James, founder of Paso Robles, CA., and all his descendants, PASO ROBLES FOUNDERS’ DAY 2021. See MoreSee Less